Numbers of suitable fleshed lambs are tight on the ground and there is no rationale to weaken lamb prices, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has warned.
IFA sheep chair Kevin Comiskey said that, currently, sheep factories are failing to reflect the lamb market strength in the prices they are paying farmers.
He suggested that this has undermined farmers who have made commitments to finish lambs at a time when production costs are at an all-time high.
“Sheep farmers are under enormous pressure with costs of production, which have increased significantly by over 30% this year.
"Farmers do not have the capacity to absorb these costs and current prices are not sufficient to cover the substantial increase in production costs,” he said.
Comiskey claimed that market conditions for sheepmeat are favourable in Ireland’s key export markets and that lamb prices in the UK and France markets have been “steadily rising in the run-up to Christmas” and “on the back of tight lamb supplies”.
In his analysis, the IFA sheep chair said factories are offering lamb prices of €6.60/kg to €6.80/kg on weights to 23kg, with higher deals available for larger and specialised lots. He said that cull ewes are making from €3.10/kg to €3.50/kg.
Comiskey said that factories cutting prices “only serves to undermine confidence within the sheep sector” and called for processors to increase prices at this critical time for farmers.